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Five-year-olds with severe meningococcal infection: prevent further diseases
In Wiernsheim, Baden-Württemberg, a five-year-old girl has a serious meningococcal infection. In order to minimize the risk of further illnesses, the local health authority informs about the prevention of the dangerous illness.
Little girl suffering from severe meningococcal infection
As the Landratsamt Enzkreis reports on its website, a five-year-old girl in Wiernsheim (Baden-Württemberg) has contracted a serious meningococcal infection. The child visits the rainbow kindergarten there. In order to minimize the risk of further illnesses, the health office informs all parents and employees of the facility about the preventive treatment of children and educators. This is to prevent further infections in close proximity and in close contacts.
Bacteria are usually transmitted by droplet infection
Meningococci are bacteria that settle in the nasopharynx of humans and, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), can be detected there in about ten percent of the population without any clinical symptoms.
They are most commonly transmitted by droplet infection. When talking, coughing or sneezing, the bacteria escape into the air in small droplets from the nasopharynx and can be inhaled from a short distance.
In addition, the pathogens can be transmitted as a smear infection, for example by touching the nasal secretions, even in close contact with the sick. Outside the body, the bacteria die quickly.
Infection often leads to blood poisoning or meningitis
According to health experts, two forms of meningococcal disease can occur individually or together:
“Meningococcal diseases develop as meningitis in about two thirds of the cases. In about a third of the cases, the course is characterized by sepsis, ”the RKI writes on its website.
The onset of illness is usually very sudden and rapidly progressing.
But: "Fortunately, meningococcal diseases are extremely rare in Germany - there are only about five cases per million people every year, mostly in the winter months," explains the specialist Dr. Michael Junius from the Health Department for the Enzkreis.
However, in Hesse a small child died only a few weeks ago from the consequences of a meningococcal infection.
It is not known why only very few individuals fall ill and others do not.
Seek medical help quickly if symptoms appear
An infection can lead to symptoms such as fever, headache, sensitivity to light, body aches and a clouded state of consciousness.
"A typical sign is the painful stiffness of the neck, often combined with morning vomiting or signs of circulatory failure", explains the specialist Angelika Edwards.
In meningococcal blood poisoning, the bacteria are flushed out all over the body, thereby disrupting blood clotting. Punctiform or extensive bleeding on the skin and mucous membranes can indicate such a disease.
Basically everyone can get a meningococcal infection. However, it most often affects infants in the first year of life, small children or adolescents.
"Definitely go to the doctor if you get sick," recommends Angelika Edwards.
Although it is possible to get vaccinated against type C meningococci, which is also recommended by the Standing Committee on Vaccination at the Robert Koch Institute.
"However, the type of bacteria that caused the acute illness in the five-year-old is not yet known," said Edwards.
A quick and quick administration of antibiotics could prevent worse things. (ad)